The first response every business owner I’ve ever worked with who received a bad Google review is something like this; “That person was such a pain, I’m not surprised he/she left a bad review even though we did everything we could to give them a great experience. Please see if Google will take it down”. While it may seem counterintuitive, I get really excited when I see bad reviews, for my business or for my clients’ businesses. Why? Well, when I first started my business my biggest fear was that we were going to make a client mad or one would be disappointed in our service. A wise mentor told me, “You’ll know you’ve made it once people start talking smack about you.” Ever since then I anticipate bad reviews rather than fear them. Because of this, I consider bad reviews to be badges of honor. After all, you really can’t make all the people happy all the time, try as we might. And we try mightily!
People Won’t Work with Me if I Have Bad Reviews
A client once told me, “Potential customers won’t work with me if I have bad reviews”
This is simply not true. Potential customers won’t work with you if you don’t respond diplomatically to bad reviews.
Getting a bad review gives you an opportunity to shine.
The following is based on two assumptions.
1. You bust your butt to provide the best products and services possible.
2. The person leaving the review is of sound mind. (You can’t fix crazy!)
Here’s the deal, something happened that caused a person to feel angry or frustrated enough to go online, seek out your Google profile and write a bad review and/or leave a bad rating. You know the situation; you know what caused the frustration. If this person wants to publicly call you out on an issue, it’s your responsibility to publicly own up to it, apologize, and try to make it right. Period. You’re not really addressing the reviewer; you’re addressing the people who are reading your Google reviews because they’re checking you out to see whether or not they should contact you. You’re BRIEFLY explaining to them what happened by the way you respond to the review.
Under no circumstances should you reply to a bad Google review when you’re angry. Keeping my last point in mind, you don’t want potential customers to see you with your fangs out. You want them to see that you handled a sticky situation with grace and tact. Also, don’t get into a discussion about what happened. Simply state that you would like to make it better and ask that he/she call you.
Sometimes things happen that are out of your control. If this is the case, your reply to the review should include an apology and an offer to do your best to make it right.
Here are some examples:
Don’t do this:
This business owner went too far into detail and wound up sounding like he was offering a bunch of excuses. Also, they put part of the blame back on the reviewer. This is a no-no. He should have accepted 100% of the blame and expressed his desire to make it right.
This business owner offered a brief explanation, an apology and a request that the reviewer call so they can try to make it better.
Please See if Google will Take It Down
Your bad review will not be removed unless it violates Google’s policy. It’s important that you have a general understanding of the policy so you don’t waste time fighting with Google over a losing battle. The policy says, “Reviews are automatically processed to detect inappropriate content like fake reviews and spam. We may take down reviews that are flagged in order to comply with Google policies or legal obligations.”
Google is careful of the following categories:
1. Spam and fake content
3. Restricted content
4. Illegal content
5. Terrorist content
6. Sexually explicit content
7. Offensive content
8. Dangerous & Derogatory Content
10. Conflict of Interest
Google doesn’t catch everything, so you should make it a point to check out your reviews regularly. If you think someone has left a fake review, you may flag it and offer a comment for Google to consider. Often a fake review can’t be proven to be fake and Google won’t remove it. Your best course of action in this case is to reply to the reviewer that you’re sorry, but you have no record of doing business with a person by their name and that you’d be more than happy to talk with them about their experience so you can make it right. This approach makes you look responsible and also delicately points out that this review may be fake. Anyone reading the review will move on the next one that is credible.
Negative Reviews Help You Look Authentic
Operating a brick-and-mortar store or online business can be assisted greatly with more traffic by making sure you've got an online presence in local search engine listings. If potential customers can research your company and post or read Google reviews associated with your customer service, you'll have an opportunity to sell them one or more of your products or services.
Having a good balance between both positive and negative reviews helps the assessment of your company look more authentic. When I shop for something and see only 5 star reviews, it makes me think something is fishy. Nobody is perfect. I always like to go straight to the negative reviews and see how the business owner handled the complaint. By evaluating the tone of his or her response, I can get an idea of how he/she will help if I have a problem with their product or. Their review reply can sway me immediately.
Hopefully this information has given you confidence to accept (legitimate) negative Google reviews as a part of life, as the cost of doing business. Embrace them as a way to showcase your fantastic customer service and hook potential customers. Once you willingly anticipate bad reviews rather than fear them you too may consider bad Google reviews to be badges of honor.
A Good Google Ad Agency is Like a Good Granola Bar
My kids’ kindergarten teacher once said, “Not all granola bars are created equal.” This is important when you’re talking about five year olds lasting through a full school day. They need snacks that will sustain them without having them bouncing off the walls. They need fuel that will provide nutrition and allow them to focus and remain calm. Otherwise, by mid-day they’re collapsing in heaps of emotion from a sugar crash. Some granola bars have minimal natural and healthful ingredients like nuts and raisins and seeds as well as oats and honey, others are power packed with dates, cranberries and peanut butter, and then there are the ones with high fructose corn syrup and other added sugars that taste great, but would be better left for a day spent outside on the soccer field. The trick is choosing the right granola bar for the activity at hand.
The same can be said for Google ad agencies. Not all advertising agencies are created equal. This is important when you’re talking about your business being found on Google consistently. Your business needs campaigns that will sustain it without costing you an arm and a leg. It needs fuel like constant nurturing that will allow it to continually improve over time. Otherwise, it won’t take long before your ads are showing up for irrelevant keywords and your budget is being depleted with no return.
Know What You Want
So, like choosing a granola bar from all the options, how do you choose a Google ad agency that’s right for your business? The first step is to begin with the end in mind. Think about where you want to see your ads in 1, 2 and 5 years. Will you want ads on the sides of busses or park benches? Will you want ads on the radio or tv? Will you want to send special offers to prospective customers via email or snail mail? Or are you looking for a team that only works online and can get your ads to show up every place your clients hang out on the Internet? Maybe you want it all. Knowing what you want in the near future will help you narrow down your search to those agencies that can provide the services needed to reach your goal.
Set Priorities and Budget
Your next step is to decide what is most important to you and what your ad spend budget will be. To do this, think about where the low hanging fruit can be found. Is it Google ppc ads, Google display ads, Bing ads, Facebook? You can do all of these and more, but your budget will determine the best approach. For this step you just need a general idea. Nothing is set in stone and you can change your priorities and budget later.
How Do You Work?
The next step is to evaluate yourself and the agency. What are your expectations for performance? Does the agency’s results with current clients meet your expectations? How hands off/hands on are you? What level of communication do you want? The best relationships are formed when you know what you want, your Google advertising agency knows what it wants and these wants match up.
Just like granola bars, not all Google ad agencies are created equal. Some are equipped to handle businesses with lofty advertising goals while others do a great job working with businesses that focus on one type of media. When you’re evaluating an agency, take a good look at the ingredients. It will make a difference for whether in five years you’re experiencing steady growth or crashing after a sugar high.
If you are a business owner with a focus on your local community, our Google ad agency will happily provide you with a free consultation and answer any questions you have about local online advertising, and granola bars.
Click here to schedule your free consultation.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Cliché? Yes. But it's a cliché with renewed meaning under the current situation of quarantines and business closings.
When the Going Gets Tough
Do quarantines and closed store front businesses mean everything comes to a stop? Do you just stop marketing your company until everything goes back to normal, whatever normal will be? Or do you intensify your efforts? Your clients and potential clients are still out there, and they need to hear from you.
The Tough Get Going
The tough in today's market are those who refuse to stop operating because some of the rules have -- at least temporarily -- changed. The tough continue use online advertising and strategically use local seo to attract viewers to their website and any social media platforms they use.
Losing Visibility Means Losing Clients
Who are your partners? That is, who do you collaborate with in a business sense? Do you make and receive referrals? Do you use supply chains of independent companies that supply you with goods or services for your clients, and vice versa? Now is the time to reach out to these partners. Communicate with them and collaborate in a new way by promoting each other's online business advertising.
A Nielsen report states that 80% of customers rely on word of mouth recommendations before making a purchase. Word of mouth today has become word of Google. By beefing up your local seo, you can move up the search scale and become more recognized and recognizable.
Quick Tips to Gain New and Keep Current Clients
Businesses that maintain their current level of marketing have a better chance of keeping current clients informed and reaching prospective clients now and an exponentially better chance of improving ranking once the economy picks back up. Three tips for keeping and gaining clients are the following:
In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity. Einstein said that. Well, you're probably in the middle of a difficulty with your business. Like many if not most businesses you, too, are having to find new ways to stay relevant. Now can be the best time to reach out to current and past clients and cultivate new ones through online advertising. The opportunities abound with platforms like Zoom and Facebook watch parties. Truly, the only limitations are in your mind.